‘Seussical’

Isabella Blasi, playing a Cat In The Hat, peers from the Seussical Helicopter during the Kelly School’s performance of ‘Seussical’ last Friday night, April 26, in the auditorium. The annual spring show was a hit for students, family and faculty.

Read More

A Good Start – Community Preservation Recommends Five Projects in First Round of Funding

Rehabbing historic monuments and buildings and establishing a community garden are among the first projects the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) will be recommending to the City Council during their initial pilot round of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding.

Monday night, the CPC recommended approval of funding for five projects, and tabled two other proposals until May so they can get more information on them.

The projects recommended by the CPC Monday night included money for the rehabilitation of the city’s Civil War monument, improvements to the Garden Cemetery, a Marlborough Street Community Garden proposed by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), and renovation of the Governor Bellingham-Cary House.

The two proposals that were tabled until more information could be gathered were for renovations to the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum (Walnut Street Synagogue) and for the city to hire an Affordable Housing Trust Fund housing specialist on a one-year contract basis.

Each of the proposals generated debate to its merits, with members keeping an eye on the potential that future years will feature requests with potentially larger impacts on the CPA fund.

Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the CPA in November 2016. It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently has a balance of just over $2.2 million.

The projects that could be funded during the initial pilot round are capped at $50,000 each. The total of the seven proposals that came before the CPC is just under $270,000, according to CPC Chair Jose Iraheta.

The pilot round of funding is not only a way to get out the word about CPA funding, but also gives the CPC an opportunity to work out the best method for recommendation of the projects, Iraheta said. The CPC can make recommendations for projects, but the funding is ultimately approved by the City Council.

“There’s so much we have to do to educate the community and have them understand what this is all about,” said CPC member Bea Cravatta. “This is a good amount of money that can change the city in a positive way.”

Key among the factors CPC members weigh in considering recommendation for a project is its community support, benefit to the city’s vulnerable populations, matching funds from the project’s proponents, and how it fits into Chelsea’s overall Master Plan.

“I believe that little pieces like this are important to the community and to people of all income levels,” CPC member Tuck Willis said of the Civil War monument rehab. “Seeing a decaying monument is not good for anyone. A neater, cleaner, spiffier look is better for everyone.”

Improvements to the Garden Cemetery also got high marks from many of the CPC members.

“This is a fantastic project that strongly aligns with our leading and supporting principles,” said CPC Vice Chair Caroline Ellenbird.

Cravatta and CPC member Juan Vega both supported the project but said they would like to see some more ideas about how the community at large could make more use of the space.

The two projects with the most questions about them were tabled to give Karl Allen of the planning department time to gather more information for the CPC.

Vega and Willis both said they both had concerns about CPA funds being used to fund a staff position for the city with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. CPC members also had questions about funding and budget specifics for rehab of the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum.

Read More

School Superintendent Finalists Visit Chelsea for Community Forums

The three finalists for the position of superintendent of schools have been on whirlwind tours of the district this week, concluding the day with a community forum at the Williams School.

On Monday, Weston High Principal Anthony Parker visited Chelsea and spoke with teachers/staff, business leaders and at a community forum in the evening. On Tuesday, Ligia Noriega-Murphy, currently the assistant superintendent of secondary schools in Boston Public Schools, went through the same agenda. Finally, today (May 2), Almudena Abeyta, currently the assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Somerville Public Schools, will visit the city and have a forum at 4:30 p.m.

School Committeewoman Jeannette Velez said the School Committee would start with separate rounds of public interviews with the candidates. They would follow the same order as this week.

All interviews are open to the public. Interviews will be held at City Hall Council Chambers in the evening.

The goal of the Committee is to have a vote on May 9 – after the final interview – to decide who to pick and negotiate a contract with. If all goes well, that person would likely begin on July 1.

At Monday’s community forum, Parker said he was very interested in Chelsea because it was a challenge and a place to learn. Though he has spent most of his career in suburban schools like Newton and Weston, he said he feels like he could be very successful in Chelsea.

“I like what I read about Chelsea and I like the emphasis on building bridges and the pathways,” he said. “I like the diversity of it…It was different enough for me to be interesting. I think any district is a challenge. It’s the opportunity to build on what is here. What you have is Chelsea is you have a great district that wants to be excellent in many ways. I believe I can help you do that.”

He also said he hasn’t applied to any other districts, only Chelsea.

“This is where I want to be,” he said.

The forum was sparsely attended, and likely because it wasn’t well publicized ahead of the beginning of the forums by the Collins Center – which is running the superintendent search process.

However, numerous students from the Chelsea Collaborative and organizers from the Collaborative did show up with many questions.

The conversation went from opinions on expulsion to outside opportunities to gun violence.

At that, Parker said his students – like Chelsea last year – organized a walkout for school safety.

He said he believes in supporting student voices – something that has grown to be very important to students at the high school over the last year. Students at Chelsea High have successfully organized the walk-out, and also successfully advocated to move graduation back outside on the new turf field.

“I walked out with them,” he said. “We knew it was happening and supported it. It was a genuinely student-led effort. We need to support that even if we disagree with that they want to do. I think if a district didn’t support students on that particular situation, I think they missed out.”

When it came to challenges between suburban Weston and urban Chelsea, Parker said he would likely have a learning period with getting community and parent participation – which often lacks in Chelsea but is strong in Weston.

“If our parents cannot make meetings or conferences because they are working multiple jobs or are too busy, then we need to go to them,” he said. “I would spend time finding out where they are and where I need to go to engage them.”

The process with the School Committee next week on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday is open to the public.

Cutline –

Anthony Parker, currently the principal at Weston High, listens intently to a question from students during Monday’s community forum at the Williams School. The three finalists have been in Chelsea this week for whirlwind tours and forums. Next week, all three will meet with the School Committee for public interviews. A decision is expected May 9.

Read More

MBTA Board Awards Contract for New Commuter Rail Station

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved a $32.3 million contract that will result in the relocation and construction of a new, fully-accessible Chelsea Commuter Rail Station.

When complete, the new Chelsea Station will be an intermodal facility that connects the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Lines to the Silver Line 3-Chelsea service, which began operating in April 2018.

“This is a key investment in our Commuter Rail infrastructure that will allow for faster boarding and improved accessibility for people of all abilities,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Once complete, the new station will serve as a multimodal connection that will give our customers the choice of traveling to North Station on the Commuter Rail or South Station on SL3 from a single point.”

Featuring high-level platforms, canopies, benches, and windscreens, the brand new station will also include new sidewalks, landscaping, stairways, lighting, communications systems, and structures for maintenance and bus operations personnel. The project also includes the demolition of the existing Chelsea Station, upgrades to railroad signal systems, and new traffic signal system installations at local intersections.

The project to construct and relocate Chelsea Station aims to relieve traffic congestion and overcrowding on existing area bus routes in Chelsea while also providing better transit options to environmental justice populations through improved accessibility to employment opportunities in downtown Boston and the Seaport district.

The project also includes the installation of transit signal priority improvements for the SL3-Chelsea along with improved operational efficiency and the incorporation of green operations elements at the new Chelsea Station. Greenhouse gas emissions will also be reduced by increasing the transit mode share and decreasing the idle time of commuter rail and BRT vehicles.

The Chelsea Commuter Rail Station Project was advertised in February 2019 with bids open in April 2019. After six bids were received, the Chelsea Commuter Rail Station contract was awarded to A.A. Will Corporation for $32,367,200.

Construction could start as early as this summer, with project completion estimated for late 2021.

Read More

School Committee’s Garcia Fires Back After Hernandez Letter

About one month after former School Committeeman Julio Hernandez – the vice chair of the Committee – suddenly resigned, citing a lack of interest in the Committee from other members, one member is firing back to say the School Committee is committed.

Kelly Garcia.

In his letter last month, Hernandez cited financial reasons mostly for his resignation, but also indicated that many members of the School Committee didn’t show up to meetings and didn’t have the best interest of the kids at heart.

In a letter to the Record this week, member Kelly Garcia said she disagreed with that summation and defended her record.

“I persevered and fought against every obstacle that came my way, and I continue to serve on the committee and stand right by my students both in my classroom as a Special Education teacher, as an advocate for increased funding at the State House on Beacon Hill, and the School Committee member representing District 7,” she wrote. “I never gave up on the students of Chelsea because once again, and in Hernandez’s own words, ‘our students’ education is no JOKE.’

“I was appalled to read such negative commentary by a former elected official,” she continued. “A person who has chosen to break his commitment to the Chelsea School District and its students should not be now using social media to undermine those who are left to choose a replacement, while at the same time, having to choose a new Superintendent.”

The letter also indicated that she believed it was Hernandez that failed the students of Chelsea, urging him to move on with dignity.

“Hernandez is an aspiring professional, and I ask that he leave this position with dignity and respect for himself and for his former colleagues who continue to work hard attending the majority of the meetings, asking thought-provoking questions, and searching for the next superintendent,” she wrote.

Hernandez’s resignation came just before the resignation of School Committee Chair Rich Maronski, who also voiced frustrations with the fact that many members don’t attend meetings. He is continuing to serve out through the end of the superintendent search.

Hernandez resigned immediately after the letter.

Read More

An Elite College Athlete, DA Rollins Got a Taste of the Law and Never Turned Back

New Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins has quickly come to be known as an agent of change, a passionate advocate for equity in the law and a solid leader ready to stand up for a cause – but few know that before all that she was an elite Division 1 college athlete, and it was on the playing field where she first gained her love and respect for the law.

Rollins grew up in a large family in Cambridge, and sports were part of her family from the beginning, long before she ever thought of the legal system.

Rollins said she was a team captain of every sport she played going back to youth soccer, and an All-Scholastic in basketball at Buckingham, Brown & Nichols School (BB&N), but it was on the lacrosse field where she was the most outstanding. The sport – which was somewhat newer to New England in the 1980s when she was in high school – was fast moving and, having been recruited to play after a basketball practice, Rollins had a great skill set to be a high achiever.

“I was the oldest of five siblings and my parents worked very hard to make sure we got a great education,” she said. “I got into BB&N after the third grade, but at one point my parents sat me down and told me I was a good athlete and a good student and needed to get a scholarship if I wanted to go to college.”

Her skills led her to a full Division 1 Scholarship to UMass-Amherst for lacrosse, this coming after winning a national championship on the high school level in 1989. After an outstanding freshman year, Rollins and her teammates were shocked to learn that their sport was being eliminated by the university due to budget cuts.

Though she was able to keep her scholarship, she said she eventually missed the athletic fields, and that’s when she and some other women athletes turned to the law – which she found to be a powerful leveler for those without much of a voice.

“At first, I was kind of relieved because I didn’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. for conditioning anymore, but later I began to miss sports,” she said. “I’d played sports my entire life and missed the camaraderie you feel when you have the team behind you and you score a goal.

“We only had three or four scholarship players and we were good,” she continued. “The men’s football team hadn’t won a game in years and they had 75 full-time scholarships with everything provided for them, including food and lodging. I didn’t know a lawyer or a judge, but it seemed so unfair. Myself ,and a few other athletes from the women’s teams, asked to meet with the Athletic Director.”

That meeting didn’t go so well, and there was no change, but DA Rollins said everything changed when they got a lawyer.

“Our lawyer threatened a Title 9 lawsuit,” she said. “The AD completely changed his tune. We got all or our teams re-instituted after a while.”

Rollins – who attended Northeastern University Law School after UMass – said it was her first taste at how the law can be used to empower and bring about justice.

And it was a powerful experience.

“I saw that lawyers matter and words matter,” she said. “As a young person, I thought, ‘Oh my God, lawyers are awesome.’ They make everyone fall into line and things change.”

It was the defining moment she points to after a long legal career with MassPort, the MBTA, and now as the Suffolk District Attorney, where the law became her passion.

However, when it came to leadership – another characteristic she said has been critical as the newly-elected DA in an office that has had the same leader for almost two decades – it was what happened after the teams were re-instated that taught her the most.

She said when the team was finally brought back, she was the only player left with any real experience. Most of the players and coaches had been plucked from other sports like track and volleyball. The elite athlete soon found herself the captain of a team that couldn’t win a game to save themselves.

Yet, she said it was the most important time of her life, leading a team that likely wasn’t going to win, but could still accomplish some goals in the meantime.

“It was one of the best learning experiences I ever had,” she said. “You show up with a smile on your face and give 100 percent even when things aren’t going well. It taught me character…Anyone can be present when things are going great, but where are you when things get hard? Do you still show up? I like to say it costs very little to pay someone a compliment or be respectful. Yet so few do it.”

That kind of optimism for a competitive person in the midst of a losing season was life changing.

“What’s beautiful is to learn not to be discouraged and to be optimistic,” she said. “Those are actually the years I broke records because the numbers of goals I scored. There are still records out there 26 or 27 years later that I set and I’m proud to say I still hold.”

Certainly, the end of her athletic career did not mean an end to those valuable lessons. In fact, she said, it has been sports that taught her about justice and leadership.

“We are breaking down barriers,” she said. “When you see a woman in leadership roles, it happens quite often that in the past that woman had some athletic ability or played some sport. It teaches us about inclusion or teamwork or perseverance. Sports doesn’t care about how much money you have or where you live, it’s about how well you perform on the field. It’s a great leveler. It’s been invaluable for me.”

And in the office, she is adjusting to being that new person who is also the leader of the office. That, she said, takes the kind of skills she honed on the athletic fields some years ago.

“I’m the new person to the team here in the DA’s office and I’m also their leader,” she said. “Change is difficult. What I try to do is show up, know the great work they do and be as encouraging and purposeful as I can.”

Nowadays, Rollins doesn’t spend much time on the playing field, but still enjoys watching her daughter run track, where she has won national championships in the 100m and 200m races. Such things are encouraging, she said, to see girls and young women have so many opportunities that were hard-fought by the generation ahead of them – a generation such as the women athletes like Rollins who used the legal system to challenge decision makers.

“It’s really exciting to see young women are getting the same opportunities men have had a long time,” she said. “Being excited for my young girls playing sports doesn’t take away from my excitement for young men playing sports. We want everyone to have the opportunity for success, on and off the field.”

DA Rollins indicates her office will be more present at crime scenes

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said one change she has made immediately to the office is making sure at major crime scenes, she and members of her office are on scene.

That includes homicides and other such crimes.

Whether in Boston, Chelsea, Revere or Winthrop, she said it is important to be present at the scene, even if it’s the middle of the night.

She said she has instructed everyone to call her no matter what time, and not to wait for the morning to brief her on major crimes.

“For me, it’s important to kind of be proximate and present when things happen so people know we not only handle the case, but also we had boots on the ground from the beginning. A lot of the work we do is behind the scenes and people don’t see it…So, it’s important they see us and we experience what they are dealing with because it really makes us have insight into the work we do every single day.”

She said that, particularly at homicides, she and her office would make every effort to be on scene throughout the county.

Read More

CHS Concert Band, Cantare Win Big at Music in the Parks Festival

The Chelsea High Concert Band and Cantare Choir gave yet another reason why it should be considered the best urban – or suburban – music program in the state, taking home numerous awards at last weekend’s Music in the Parks Festival.

The Festival took place at the Westfield South Middle School and Westfield High School, and typically ends with an awards ceremony and fun day at Six Flags New England. However, due to the inclement weather, the Chelsea musicians had to be content with simply taking home some of the top prizes in the state.

Cantare Director Pete Pappavaselio and Concert Band Director Shannon Sullivan reported that both groups did outstanding at the Festival.

The CHS Percussion Ensemble took first place and received the highest adjudicated score of all of the ensembles present that day, with a score of 98 (out of 100) and a rating of Superior.

The CHS Band received a rating of Excellent and placed fourth overall.

The CHS Cantare received also received a rating of Excellent and came in third place, and the CHS Choir received a rating of Superior and came in second place. Additionally, Dimas Villanueva was recognized as the Best Student Accompanist of the competing ensembles and received an award for his guitar playing on “California Dreamin'” and “Blackbird.”

The CHS Band’s next performance will be on Memorial Day at City Hall, at a ceremony which begins at 9 a.m. All of these ensembles will be performing at Arts Night Out, which is the combined year-end event with the Visual Arts Department. That celebration is on Fri., May 31, with the art gallery opening at 6 p.m., and the concert beginning at 7 p.m. Viewing the art gallery is free, and tickets to the concert are $4.

Read More

Roll On: MGC Clears Wynn Resorts

Despite fines, troubling behavior identified, MGC allows casino, Maddox to move forward for opening

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), despite finding a troubling pattern in the Wynn Resorts leadership in the past and present, agreed to let the casino operators remain in control of their Everett project – clearing the way for a planned June opening with licenses, and CEO Matt Maddox, intact.

The decision came down on Tuesday evening after more than two weeks of deliberation by the MGC Commissioners. Those deliberations had followed an intense week of hearings April 2-4 at the South Boston Convention Center, as well as a year-long investigation by the MGC. The 54-page decision laid out the stipulations of the decision, including a record-setting $35 million punishment for the company and a $500,000 punishment for CEO Matt Maddox – who remained suitable by a majority Commission vote that was not unanimous.

The $35 million fine was far larger – nearly double – the fine levied by the Nevada Gaming and Control Board in February when they fined Wynn $20 million for similar breaches there. At the time, that was a record-setting penalty.

The great silver lining for the Wynn organization, however, was the first finding in the written report, which determined that no one in the Wynn organization intentionally provided false or misleading information to the MGC in 2013.

“…the Commission has determined that Wynn MA LLC, Wynn Resorts Limited, Matthew Maddox, Elaine Wynn and Patricia Mulroy remain suitable, subject to fines and conditions set forth in this decision, and all new qualifiers are deemed suitable,” read the decision. “While the Commission did not find substantial evidence that the company or any qualifier willfully provided false or misleading information to the Commission (during the licensing process) in 2013, the Commission did find numerous violations of controlling statutes and regulations largely pertaining to a pervasive failure to properly investigate…and to notify the Commission about certain allegations of wrongdoing.

“The Commission is deeply troubled by the circumstances of these findings,” it continued.

“Specifically, the corporate culture of the founder-led organization led to disparate treatment of the CEO in ways that left the most vulnerable at grave risk. While the Company has made great strides in altering that system, this Commission remains concerned by the past failures and deficiencies,” continued the commissioners’ decision.

Despite being troubled, the MGC indicated that it had decided it was in everyone’s best interest to move forward with the execution of the Region A gaming license in Everett.

“Given our findings, it is now in the interest of the Commonwealth that the gaming licensee move forward in establishing and maintaining a successful gaming establishment in Massachusetts,” read the report from the Commissioners. “One of the key metrics by which we will measure that success will be the overall well-being, safety, and welfare of the employees. A second but equally important metric is the importance of compliance and communication with the regulator. This penalty is designed to guarantee these practices.”

To help ensure future compliance and to punish for past transgressions, the Commission imposes the following penalties and conditions:

•The Commission will assess a $35 million fine on Wynn Resorts.

•Wynn Resorts shall maintain the separation of Chair and CEO for at least the term of the license (15 years).

•At Wynn’s expense, the Commission, as more fully described in the decision, will select an independent monitor to conduct a full review and evaluation of all policies and organizational changes adopted by the Company as part of the Adjudicatory record.

•The Board of Directors shall provide the Commission timely reports of all Directors’ attendance records of both Board and assigned Committee meetings.

•Wynn MA, LLC shall train all new employees on the Preventing Harassment and Discrimination Policy within three months of opening.

•Any civil or criminal complaints or other actions filed in any court or administrative tribunal against a qualifier shall be reported to the Commission immediately upon notice of the action.

•The Commission will assess a $500,000 fine on Wynn CEO Matthew Maddox.

•The Board of Directors shall engage an executive coach and any additional necessary resources to provide the coaching and training to Mr. Maddox focused on but not limited to (i) leadership development, (ii) effective and appropriate communication for internal, company-wide reporting and messaging, (iii) enhanced sensitivity to and awareness of human resource issues arising in complex workplace environments that, without limitation, relate to diversity (including disability), implicit bias, hostile work environments, inherent coercion, sexual harassment and assault, human trafficking and domestic violence and (iv) team building and meaningful collaboration.

“Ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the gaming industry and the strict oversight of the gaming establishments through rigorous regulation is our principal objective,” said Chair Cathy Judd-Stein in a statement. “Our licensees will be held to the highest standards of compliance, including an obligation to maintain their integrity. The law of Massachusetts affords the Commission significant breadth in our decision making. With that comes an equally significant duty of fairness. We are confident that we have struck the correct balance and met our legal and ethical burdens.”

The $35 million fine will be accompanied by a series of conditions, including an independent monitor to review and evaluate the company’s adherence to new and existing policies.

Maddox was levied a personal fine, and his suitability was confirmed by a majority vote that was not unanimous, the MGC said. The fine, they said, came from his “clear failure to require an investigation about a specific spa employee complaint brought to his attention.”

That complaint came from Hotel Operations Director Brian Gullbrants – now an employee of Encore in Everett – and the infamous “sensual massage” requested by Steve Wynn and his new wife in 2013 at the company’s Las Vegas resort spa.

That said, the Commission did acknowledge that Wynn Resorts had made voluminous changes to their corporate culture and structure – something that was hammered home for hours upon hours by the Wynn team during the MGC hearings.

The Commission concludes “[t]hese changes to the company’s philosophy, training, and operations show a new found commitment and focus on all levels of employees, which combined with the ongoing successful business operations, continue to demonstrate that Wynn is likely to be a successful operator in Everett,” read the decision.

Despite that determination, there was an undercurrent of “troubled” findings repeatedly spelled out in the report. Primarily, that related to information about settlements regarding Steve Wynn’s conduct in the 2013 licensing process.

The report said most of the time, the information withheld came at the advice of legal counsel, but that advice should not have been followed.

“One of the troublesome undercurrents driving this matter is that disclosure of information was often withheld reportedly on the advice of legal counsel, both in-house and outside,” read the report. “All persons involved should have known better.”

That troubling undercurrent also was expressed in the lengthy analysis of Maddox’s qualifier status. While Maddox was allowed to remain as head of the company, the decision was not unanimous – meaning that some on the Commission believed he shouldn’t remain and voted against him. However, they found that his shortcomings were due to incompetence rather than suitability issues, and they required that he take training classes on how to lead the company.

“Mr. Maddox presents a unique case given his longevity with the company, exposure to information pertaining to the alleged wrongdoings and settlements, and current role as CEO,” read the report.

“The Commission concluded that Mr. Maddox has, at critical junctures, demonstrated questionable judgment and other considerable shortcomings in many facets of his responsibilities as CFO, President and CEO,” it continued. “The majority of the Commission determined, however, that these shortcomings bear primarily on his competence, not his suitability…These shortcomings are largely not matters of honesty, integrity, good character or reputation…”

One of the most telling parts of the report was the Preamble at the very beginning, where it was apparent the Commission deliberated at length about the matter – and from the gut. In the end, though, it felt it had rendered justice.

“We are confident that we have struck the correct balance and met our legal and ethical burdens,” it read.

Read More

Empty Bowl Fundraiser

The year 2019 marked the 8th annual Chelsea Empty Bowls fundraiser
to help raise awareness to and funds for combatting food insecurity. Here, Julia McDermott, Yahaira Guzman, and Sylvester Valdez hold their recently purchased bowls during the event on Thursday, April 18, at the Williams School.

Read More

Engineering Success On the Court Robinson-Griggs Builds a Legacy as MIT Coach

Lucia Robinson-Griggs, who graduated from Pope John XXIII High School as one of its greatest athletes of all time, is enjoying much success in the coaching ranks.

Lucia Robinson-Griggs, MIT women’s basketball associate head coach, proudly holds the team’s NEWMAC championship trophy at the conference tournament in Springfield in the company of her proud family, from left, cousin Maureen Lee, cousin, Nickolette
Mauch, father, Leo Robinson, uncle, D. Bruce Mauch, aunt, Gail Mauch, and aunt, Arlene Robinson.

Robinson-Griggs just completed a tremendous season as the associate head coach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) women’s basketball team. The Lady Engineers captured the NEWMAC Conference Championship for the second year in row.

MIT played St. Joseph’s of Maine in the first round of the NCAA Division 3 Tournament and lost 68-61.

Lucia’s father, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, mother, REACH Executive Director Linda Alioto-Robinson, uncle, Chelsea Clock Company Vice President D. Bruce Mauch, and aunts Gail Mauch and Arlene Robinson traveled to Ithaca College to root on Lucia’s MIT contingent in the NCAA first round game.

Robinson-Griggs, who began her basketball career in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League before starring for the Pope John Tigers, was promoted to associate head coach at MIT this season. She recorded her 100th career win at MIT in November.

A rewarding experience at MIT

What is the experience like coaching at MIT, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world?

“Coaching at MIT is incredibly rewarding and inspiring,” said Robinson-Griggs. “The women on the team are able to balance their heavy course work, research and internships and are still able to be “all in” for basketball. They spend time being dedicated to watching film, working out in the weight room and doing their best on the court.”

Robinson-Griggs said because of the student-athletes’ rigorous academic requirements, the coaching staff has to be well prepared for the daily practices and strategy sessions.

“As a coach, our players’ schedules really force you to be prepared in order to maximize your time with the team,” said Robinson-Griggs. “We only have a two-hour window for practices, so our plans for skill development and planning for opponents needs to be all encompassing and ready to go. Knowing after graduation, the players will go on to have their pick of careers makes you feel a sense of pride and awe that they also chose to play basketball as part of their collegiate experience.”

Robinson-Griggs was previously the head coach of the Lesley University women’s basketball team, leading the Lady Lynx to two conference championships.

From college player

to college coach

Robinson-Griggs played college basketball at Bentley University, a perennial Division 2 powerhouse coached by Barbara Stevens. She received her undergraduate degree from Bentley and holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Lesley. She is a mathematics teacher at Revere High School where she has also coached in the football program. She is a former women’s professional football player for the Mass Militia.

Robinson-Griggs has worked at several summer basketball camps, including one directed by Brown University head coach Sarah Behn, the former BC and Foxboro High School standout.

Leo Robinson, who played basketball for Chelsea High School and Burdett College, said he was proud of his daughter’s many accomplishments in the sport of basketball. He credits her dedication and mastery of the fundamentals of the game as key factors in her success as a coach.

“Lucia is a sound coach who understands the fundamentals,” said Leo. “She is a good strategist who watches a lot of game film.”

Robinson-Griggs was the keynote speaker at the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in January. The 31-year-old scholar-athlete, role model and coach delivered an inspiring address that earned her a standing ovation from the audience.

Lucia and her husband, Michael, live in Chelsea and have two children, Kaia, 4, and Kellan, 2.

Read More